Special Screenings
Traveling Festival

La Sierra
(84 minutes) Colombia/USA
Directors/Producers: Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez

During the last decade over 35,000 people have been killed in Colombia's civil war, a now 40-year-old conflict that has moved from the nation's jungles to its cities, where left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries combat each other and government forces. Today urban gangs allied with either side are engaged in a war for the control of neighborhood slums, with adjoining barrios pitted against one another, and the civilian populace caught in the middle. As a resident of one such MedellÌn barrio, La Sierra, explains, the neighborhood is ìin the hands of kids with gunsî. La Sierra traces a year in the life of three young people in a MedellÌn barrio: EdisÛn, the charismatic gang leader and playboy who has fathered six children with six different women; Cielo, a widowed mother with a paramilitary boyfriend in jail, as she struggles to avoid becoming a prostitute; and Jesús, a young gangster whose readiness for death fuses with his indulgence in drugs. La Sierra features unusually revealing interviews with EdisÛn, Cielo and Jesús about their views of the conflict, their family lives and relationships, and their dreams, for themselves and for their children, about escaping the cycle of violence and poverty.

Director/producer Scott Dalton, a native of Conroe, Texas, is a freelance photographer and filmmaker based in Colombia, where he has covered the conflict for five years. A nine-year veteran of Latin American photojournalism, he has worked extensively throughout Central and South America, as well as in the Middle East. In 2003, while on assignment in one of Colombia's most dangerous war zones, he was kidnapped by leftist rebels. (He was released after 11 days.) His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, Newsweek, and the Associated Press, among other outlets.

Director/producer Margarita Martinez is a reporter for the Associated Press in Bogota, Colombia, where she covers the civil conflict, gangs, and negotiations between the government and insurgent groups. She graduated from Bogota's University of the Andes in 1994 with a law degree and worked at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. She was a Fulbright Scholar in journalism and international affairs at Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1998. After a stint at NBC News, Martinez moved back to Colombia. Her work at the AP eventually led her to Medellín's poor barrios, which are a window on the roots of Colombiaís violence.

Contact Information:
Dylan McGinty
First Run/Icarus Films
32 Court Street, #2107
Brooklyn, NY 11201
©2006 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)


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